2012 Whitebark Pine Protection Project

Project: Whitebark Pine Protection Project

Agency/Forest or Park/District: USDA Forest Service, Caribou-Targhee National Forest, Dubois Ranger District, Centennial Mountain Range

Project coordinator: Cathey Hardin

Contact: Cathey Hardin, chardin@fs.fed.us, Ashton-Island Park Ranger District, 208-558-4207


Student Conservation Association

Source of funding /amount

FHP: $18,250

Supplemental funding: $58,990 from FS

Dates of restoration efforts

Summer 2010


This project created fuel breaks around approximately 150 mature, cone bearing trees while also reducing the competing vegetation.

One of the key benefits from this project is to ensure the long-term viability of whitebark pine in the GYA by identifying cone producing whitebark pine for protection and promote genetic diversity and conservation. One of the strategic objectives in the Whitebark Pine Strategy for the Greater Yellowstone Area (WBPS) is to protect remaining cone-bearing whitebark pine throughout the GYA (page 7), reduce forest fuels from whitebark pine stands and protect remaining mature seed source trees to ensure propagule availability (page 8), emphasize maintaining and restoring whitebark pine stands inside the grizzly bear Primary Conservation Areas and in other areas occupied by grizzly bears (page 8).  This area is located within occupied grizzly bear habitat and identified as whitebark pine stands with high priority for restoration as identified in the Whitebark Pine Strategy for the Greater Yellowstone Area (page 17).

This project removed adjacent trees (mainly subalpine fir) from around whitebark pine trees (from 50-100 feet) creating a fuel break and reducing the competition from these other conifers. Distance for removal could varied dependent on topography and slope. Slash was pulled back, loped, scattered, or piled and will be burned when conditions allow.

Acres/ha treated

161 WBP trees treated


A six person crew will use chainsaws to cut existing conifers from around mature, cone-producing whitebark pine trees for approximately 50-100 feet creating a fuel break. Distance for removal of fuels could vary depending upon topography and slope. Slash will be pulled back, loped, scattered or piled and possibly burned.

Work is proposed to begin in July and continue until October. It is anticipated that a crew could average approximately 10 trees per day. Since there is no road access into the area, crews would be camped on the site. They would work 8, 10 hour days, then be off for 6 days to get as much work accomplished as possible and thus save on travel time to the project work area.

The expectation is to continue this type of fuel reduction projects in whitebark pine stands throughout the Centennial Range once data has been collected, data reviewed for potential projects and when funding is made available.

Planting? If so, source of seedlings? Resistance? No


With the funding received we were able to reduce the fuel loading adjacent to 161 identified, cone producing, mature WBP trees. This not complete the project but completed with the amount of funding received, in fact we treat an additional 11 eleven trees. Burning of piles will be completed when conditions allow.

Monitoring since completion of the project


            Plans for future monitoring?

A subset of the treated trees will be re-visited to assess the effectiveness of the treatment, condition of the tree and check for regeneration.

Will outcome meet goals?


Future actions/follow up?

Slash piles will be burned when conditions exist to meet objectives.

Miscellaneous comments

See the 2013 Protection report for results of this project and photographs.